JsonStathamΒ inΒ Β 
Software EngineerΒ 2 years ago

Toxic Interview - My Experience and Thoughts

I recently had an interview with a HM at a company that shall remain nameless. It was traumatic to me in the sense that it made me question my self worth.

I want to share me thoughts here in case anyone has had a similar experience and want something to relate to and feel better and know that you're not alone and you're awesome.

It all started this way. I was asked about the most challenging project that I had worked on in my experience. Standard behavioural question I suppose. And I went on to give a brief story about a challenging project that I had worked on keeping details to the minimum and going by the cues that I received from the HM using them to decide whether or not I must elaborate. Here is where I got red flag number one. I have used the same answer with other HMs and so far none of them and I mean none of them ever said it was too long. In fact, they dug deeper into certain aspects of the story based on their interest and understanding. It was a well tested story where I keep it open for follow up questions. And this person here immediately asked the second question and without batting an eye told me and I quote "for this question I want you to keep to the point of what is asked". I thought to myself ok, fair enough, you're not interested in a story, I'll just answer this one in a sentence or two and that's exactly what I did.

This continued for about 10 minutes and then the HM proceeded to ask if I could share some initiative that β€œI” had taken on β€œmy own”. I respectfully said that the first challenging project that I mentioned was an initiative that I had taken, but, let me tell you another one. This showed he had clearly not paid attention to my first story at all. This time I kept it to the point, like the demanded, and told a sentence instead of a story. Sure enough he started to ask more questions to dig deeper and without going into details let me tell you that the conversation turned from me explaining about my initiative to me feeling that it was not an accomplishment worth sharing. The HM went on to put it down saying what I did was an overhead and giving, IMHO, silly reasons as to why he thought the work that I did was made to appear like it was high impact but in fact it was almost worthless to the company or any company for that matter. To give some context, the project that I spoke about was high impact in the sense it saved a lot of additional and unnecessary cost for my team and my previous company and I had also shared what I had developed and learnt as best practices to other teams in the company as well so you can imagine how dear it really was to me and the HM simply proceeded to put it down. No constructive criticism was provided either. By then I was done. I had lost count of the red flags.

What I mentioned above has some of my thoughts post retrospection but immediately after the interview my morale and self confidence was down low. I began to question my self worth and the worth of the work I had done. I began to doubt myself and my accomplishments and went into a downward spiral. Then I remembered how each and every accomplishment in my career made my peers and teammates, my managers and my friends/well wishers feel and most importantly how it made ME feel. And I immediately felt much better.

TLDR - People in an interview sometimes tend to put you down on purpose. Its some kinda weird power move I suppose and if you dig a little deeper into the psychology of it, the person putting you down is sometimes not aware of his or her own actions. So understand two things, one, your self worth is determined by you alone and two, sometimes people act like $h** and treat you like $h** too, empathize and understand that they too are going through their own $h** and it be like that sometimes. That being said, always be open to constructive criticism of any form. Self improvement and self growth is essential whilst knowing what you're worth.Β Β 


ncIJno31dSoftware EngineerΒ 2 years ago
That's a ton of patience dude. Wow.
JsonStathamSoftware EngineerΒ 2 years ago
Haha yeah, my patience is generally above average is what I'm told. πŸ˜€